A thread on Onyx Path’s forums brings together public allegations based by RPG designer Khaldoun Khelil against Matt McElroy and Matthew Dawkins.
Khelil’s account of events and grievances are shared in a public Google Doc.
The Arab American of Palestinian and Algerian ancestry alleges that he was put on a blacklist by Onyx Path Publishing. He is also concerned that a member of Modiphius Entertainment was threatened and Onyx Path’s new HR process has not resulted in the public apology he wants.
Thomas explains how the outside HR consultant Onyx Path especially employs to ensure that such concerns are investigated thoroughly and without bias, tackled the complaint. He notes;
Looking into the conversations between Matthew Dawkins and Khaldoun, and Matthew Dawkins and the Modiphius employee, HR was able to review Matthew’s chat log and presented the conclusion that Matthew behaved in a professional and business-appropriate manner. When Khaldoun requested it, Matthew reviewed our freelancer list and truthfully let Khaldoun know that he was not on any “blacklist” at Onyx Path.
Rich Thomas does see why the issue is important and why Khelil is upset. He offers;
After listening to Khaldoun, I better understand how Matt McElroy honestly explaining why he was angry with Khaldoun may appear reasonable to another white guy, but that an angry white guy in a position of power making the same statement to a PoC leads to a different set of reactions based on a lifetime of similar situations.
However, there have been no public apologies, only private ones. Thomas says;
Both of them did apologize privately to Khaldoun for the pain they caused, as they did not believe public apologies for private conversations were appropriate to the situation. As Khaldoun stated during the investigation, he has no evidence that anyone knew of these conversations outside those who were participants nor that he has missed out on any projects because of these conversations.
Khaldoun Khelil’s statement confirms apologies have been made. However, Khelil asserts they are not satisfactory. He says;
After one conference call with Rich Thomas and the HR consultant Georgina, Onyx Path decided the matter was not a company issue and that no public apology was necessary. I contacted their employees directly for apologies, and while both provided me with statements that admitted to no liability, only one attempted to address the issues of white privilege and racism that made this smear and cover up of this smear possible. The other was curt, halfhearted and condescending. Neither could be considered earnest apologies and Onyx Path again refused to publish them in any form or make their own statement.
Khelil, a developer on Modiphius’ forthcoming Dune RPG, became concerned that they were on an Onyx Path Publishing blacklist after being asked by an unnamed employee at Modiphius to check their social media. Khelil was advised to review tweets to see if he may have said something that could be considered “shit-talking” Onyx Path.
Onyx Path identifies the concerning tweets as ones which connect Matthew McFarland with Onyx Path. McFarland closed his game company after abuse allegations.
Onyx Path had worked with McFarland but had cut ties with the developer years before the allegations were made public. It was not widely known this was the case.
Crucially for Onyx Path, there is understandable uncertainty as to whether the comments made about Khaldoun Khelil’s tweets were made during an official company meeting, on company time, or immediately after it, in personal time but at the same location at the UKGE convention.
Both statements can be found and in their entirety here.
What do you think? Measured observations are welcome and you can leave them in the comment section below.